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  Case Studies The Situation The Search The Successful Results  

    Board Member For An Electric Utility Providing Services In Eight States

Board Services



  The Situation

Typical of fully regulated electric utilities, our client's board was largely local in nature including local company officers, lawyers, bankers, and CPAs. Facing deregulation and the need to compete for business required restructuring the company and diversifying its services and products. The management and the board realized that they needed large company CEO representation on the board with technology and marketing expertise and experience in managing change. Competing with four other firms for the assignment, the team from Ray & Berndtson was selected based on our understanding of the client's challenges, our advice at the interview on restructuring the governance practices of the board and the commitment that the partner making the presentation would personally handle all contacts with prospective candidates and the committee. The partner's successful experience in an identical situation and a strong reference from that company also played a role in winning the search.


  The Search

Having been selected, we advised the Search Committee to recommend that the number of board meetings be reduced from 13 to a maximum of six each year. Further, we advised our client to add at least two and preferably three major CEOs to the board to support a change from an operating board to a policy setting and strategic planningboard. We developed background information on 20 CEOs of marketing and/or technology driven companies who had successfully managed through major change and prioritized that list with the Search Committee. Attracting a fully engaged major company CEO to an outside board requires considerable cultivation and often is not possible because of company policy against serving on outside boards or schedule conflicts that cannot be overcome. We advised against pursuing any CEO already serving on two outside boards and assured compatibility with our client's CEO by setting up a meeting between the two.


  The Successful Results

The search was brought to a highly successful conclusion within three months of the start date when the CEO of a major diversified global organization in aircraft, aerospace, industrial and finance businesses with deep marketing experience was elected to the board. Our client CEO reports that the impact of this major executive on the deliberations of the board has been immediate and very positive. Board meetings have been reduced to six meetings per year and board focus is rapidly moving to policy and strategy and away from operations. The Ray & Berndtson team has now been retained to assist the board in recruiting two more directors of similar caliber.
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